There’s a well-known story about the time Pixar lost almost two months of work on Toy Story 2 due to human error. A command intended to clean out unwanted files accidently ran on the system and deleted 90% of the film’s files.
There were backup tapes. Unfortunately, the backup system had not been tested. Though backups were running, the tapes had long since exceed their capacity. Each time a backup ran, the existing data was being overwritten to make room for the new data.
Eventually, thanks to a bit of luck, hard work and long hours, the animators were able to recreate the film (just in time).
If this happened to you
If you lost important data what would happen? What might you lose in sales if you didn’t know who owed you money and how much? What if you lost your existing orders and quotes?
Could you reproduce your lost data? If so, how long might it take to recreate your data and at what cost?
The moral of the story
There are three important lessons to learn from Pixar’s near disaster.
- Your data is valuable. You must have a backup, storage and retrieval plan.
- Your backup system should be tested on a regular basis.
- The best backup system not only preserves your data, but also enables you to access and restore your data when you need it.
To ensure that you can retrieve saved data, it’s risky to rely solely on backups stored onsite. Any backups you store onsite are vulnerable to damage from fire, water, electrical surges or storms.
What about keeping backups at home? Turns out that Pixar was able recreate Toy Story 2 in part because an employee had a copy of some of the files at home.
Although Pixar got lucky, keeping backups at home is not a best practice. You’re still vulnerable to storm or fire damage. And, what if the backup is lost or stolen from your home? You risk losing proprietary data as well as confidential information such as employee social security numbers.
Your best option is to store backups off-site at a secure facility and/or in the cloud. Redundancy in both backup systems and storage locations is the gold standard.